Ed. note: This post has been udpated to provide more context to the original press release.
This is pretty huge. From a press release the Bill White campaign sent out minutes ago:
Bill White called for an immediate state and federal investigation, and one of the nation's preeminent criminal defense lawyers weighed in today as Rick Perry stonewalls questions about the public corruption scandal.
Perry handed out $16 million in taxpayer dollars from a high tech fund to companies tied to his top political contributors.
“This is the kind of thing a Public Integrity Unit ought to investigate. If the fundraisers promised or suggested that grants would go to political donors and then that happened, that's criminal, plain and simple,” said Dick DeGuerin.
DeGuerin has defended Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Representative Tom DeLay and was recently named one of the 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century.
“Perry's had 48 hours. He's stonewalling simple questions and refusing to release documents revealing the investors in companies getting taxpayer dollars. The Travis County DA and the Department of Justice should investigate,” said White.
The scandal we're referring to is the major, breaking story from Sunday & Monday's Dallas Morning News.
- Sunday – “Perry's tech fund aided firms with ties to his donors”
- Monday – “Perry says innovator who's also donor deserved tech funds”
- Monday – “Gov. Rick Perry refuses to release documents from Texas Emerging Technology Fund”
- Monday – Editorial: It's time to fix the Emerging Technology Fund
- Tuesday – “Perry, White address issues around technology fund”
It is also making national headlines:
- CNN – “White hammers Perry over tech fund questions”
- The Hill – “Texas Tea Partiers Should Disown Rick Perry”
- Talking Points Memo – “Report: Rick Perry Gave $16M In State Money To Firms Backed By Donors”
The crux of the scandal is as follows:
An investigation by The Dallas Morning News found that more than $16 million from the Emerging Technology Fund has been awarded to companies with investors or officers who are large campaign donors to Perry.[…]
The governor's office administers the tech fund, and the governor must approve each award – a system that most other states with tech funds avoid to guard against political influence.
The News found that tech fund money has been awarded to companies with which at least eight significant Perry donors are affiliated.
Read those DMN stories in full to understand the depth and breadth of the stories.